In recent days a tale of a young boy, a broken wrist and an inability to hold a plate of food at a cocktail party, has taken international headlines by storm.
“I can’t hold a plate of hors d’oeuvre at a party” was the line from Jennifer Connell as she sued her 12 year old nephew for inadvertently breaking her wrist in an over enthusiastic hug. She unsuccessfully sought $127,000 in damages from him in a US Court.
Once this hit the press, the backlash was immediate. “World’s worst aunt” said the Australian media. “Worst Aunt Ever” said the American Entertainment outlets. #AuntFromHell was the go-to Twitter hashtag. The way the media treated Jennifer Connell was nothing short of vilification. The way the story took off on social media was astounding; “Hey did you hear about that crazy aunt that’s suing her nephew for giving her a hug?” was the chat at the office water cooler.
However, as days pass we can finally understand Connell’s side of the story. A side so accurate and realistic that it is almost boring. Almost. As it turns out, Connell had no choice but to sue her nephew, it was the only way she could access her insurance policy to pay for her care. The insurance company initially offered her $1 to cover the cost of home care and two surgeries. Her legal advice was that the nephew needed to be named as the defendant in order to get the insurance company to pay; she has no intention of taking money from him.
She described the ordeal as a “legal technicality.” She quite rightly told NBC that people were quick to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts of the case.
From this we can take two things: When it comes to issues even remotely close to crime and justice, we often need to look a bit deeper, and secondly, the god damn American health insurance system is as crazy as hell.